Dumbbells are an essential tool for building and strengthening your leg muscles. They are inexpensive, versatile, and easy to use. With a few simple exercises, you can strengthen and tone your legs in no time.
The first exercise is the Dumbbell Squat. This exercise helps to build strength in your quads and glutes. Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your knees and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Push back up to starting position. Make sure to keep your back straight and your chest up. Do three sets of 10-15 repetitions.
Building your legs is much less complicated than you may think; even with limited equipment, you can still get in a good leg workout. However, people tend to stay away from dumbbells, and rather focus on barbells and even machines to build up their legs.
There can be many reasons why people don’t want to use a barbell. It could be because of back pain or your general dislike for the barbell that you want to stay away from it. You can still build monstrous legs with dumbbells!
Although it is said by many that compound movements with a barbell, such as the basic back squat, are the best way to build big legs. In reality, your muscles have no idea if you’re using a barbell or dumbbell during your workout. All they know is if you have really put them through the wringer, trained them hard, and broken them down. You can completely eliminate barbells and other machines from your leg workouts and still build monster wheels with a set of dumbbells.
1. Goblet Squats – 3 Sets 15 Reps
Goblet squats can be a lifesaver if you’re suffering from a back injury. This exercise forces you to keep your back straight and tends to eliminate most of the tension from it. Goblet squats target your quads and will leave you limping out of the gym by the time you’re done with this exercise.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in front of your chest with both hands. Perform a squat until your hams touch your calves. Keep your back straight, and your head and chest up.
2. Dumbbell Lunges – 3 Sets 15 Reps On Each Leg
The range of motion is the key while performing this exercise. Most people make the mistake of placing their feet way too far apart or way too close to each other, which can make it so you are not getting the full benefit of the exercise. Use weights with which you can complete 30 reps in one set.
Your front knee should not extend farther than your big toe and the quad of the second leg should be parallel to the calf of the front leg while you’re at the bottom of the movement. This is the optimal position to perform dumbbell lunges.
3. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts – 3 Sets 10 Reps
Dumbbell Romanian deadlifts are one of the best exercises to target your hams, bodybuilding legend, and 4x Mr. Olympia champion, Jay Cutler was a huge fan of this exercise for his leg workouts. Using dumbbells instead of a barbell will help you increase your range of motion. Barbells can limit your motion by making you follow a straight line of movement.
Using dumbbells lets your arms free and you can follow a movement where you have the greatest amount of tension on your hamstrings. Most people complain about lower back recruitment while using a barbell, this problem is just about eliminated when you utilize dumbbells.
4. Dumbbell Step Ups – 3 Sets of 12 Reps On Each Leg
Dumbbell step-ups are a complete leg buster. This exercise will set your quads on fire. If you don’t have access to an elevated platform at your gym, you can use a flat bench for this exercise.
Stand while facing the platform with dumbbells at your sides. Step onto the platform with your right foot, and extend your right leg and hip at the top of the movement. Place your left foot on the platform as well. Step down with your left foot and repeat with the right leg.
5. Dumbbell One-Legged Deadlifts – 3 Sets 12 Reps On Each Leg
Dumbbell one-legged deadlifts are a unilateral exercise. Unilateral exercises are the ones that work one side of your body at a time. This can help with developing the muscles and strength on your weaker side, as well as incorporating some good balance into the mix.
One-legged deadlifts help with isolating the hamstring and establishing a good mind-muscle connection. Hamstrings can be a hard muscle group to train and develop as you can’t see them in the mirror and hence it becomes harder to develop a connection with them.
Why Training Legs is Important
Many people opt out of leg workouts, and this is quite upsetting as legs are a crucial part of developing a well-rounded physique. There is a multitude of reasons to not skip legs such as:
- Stronger lower half: By lifting weights and building muscle, you put a focus on strength and increased muscle growth, thus allowing you to hit those PRs and desired physical goals in the gym.
- Well-rounded physique: A large upper half needs to be coupled with a matched lower one and by building your legs, you build a well-rounded physique others will envy.
- Stronger joints: Our knees and other joints take a beating every day and by working to build larger muscles and those smaller muscles around joints, we work to strengthen our joints and provide the best in terms of overall support.
- Better posture: Stronger legs allow us to stay more grounded and can improve posture by giving us a great base to support us.
In short, be sure to hit your legs!
Supplementation and Diet for Leg Workouts
Legs are a huge muscle on the body, so upon breaking those muscles down you will need to refuel them to the best of your abilities to make them grow. The real growth actually comes from the recovery process, which is affected largely by both diet and supplementation.
One method to making the legs grow faster is placing a cheat meal, or a higher carb day on your leg days. The higher amount of nutrients coming from these foods flow to the damaged muscles to repair them, which on a leg day would be your legs.
Some good supplements to tackle leg days with include:
Dumbbell Leg Workout Wrapping Up
Overall, many people do not utilize dumbbells as often as they should when training their legs. A dumbbell-only leg workout is something that can really hit the muscles from different angles, breaking them down in different ways than you would with a barbell or machine-focused leg workout. Proper diet and supplementation to accompany a good dumbbell leg workout can grow some massive tree trunks.
Have you ever tried dumbbell-only leg workouts?
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